Immigration Action: Rallies in NM, bus trips to Texas border, Spanish-speaking interviewers needed to interview separated children. Judge orders reunification within 30 days. Progressive successes across the nation. NM Children: New report ranks NM children dead last.
The Worst News of the Year in a Year Full of Bad News. Justice Kennedy announced he is retiring from the Supreme Court. Kennedy, 81, has long been the decisive vote in many closely divided cases. His retirement gives President Trump the opportunity to fundamentally change the course of the Supreme Court. It is at times like these that test our perseverance. Just because the path became more difficult, didn’t in the least diminish its nobility and truth. Hang in there. There are more battles to be won and over the next week or so, we will report on strategies that emerge to combat this threat. Certainly one, will be a renewed effort to retake the Senate responsible for approving appointments to the Court.
Need inspiration about now? Check out the stirring 2 minute video about Alexandria Ocasio Cortez, her campaign video. Great stuff.
Housing the Future: A Disruptive Futures Dialog
5:30 – 8:00 pm on Thursday, June 28th at the Santa Fe Art Institute. Like DNA to our bodies, housing is the building block of thriving communities. It is the critical link connecting our culture, health, education, economic capacity, history, and belonging. Like many cities around the world, Santa Fe is facing a major housing crisis. The lack of affordable housing, coupled with concerns around displacement, has many residents wondering about the sustainability of our city.
In partnership with New Mexico Inter-Faith Housing, the Santa Fe Community Foundation, and the Santa Fe Art Institute, Creative Santa Fe will host ‘Housing the Future‘ – a public dialogue event to examine current issues in housing, highlight affordable housing initiatives led by local organizations, and explore bold, disruptive ideas for a future where everyone has access to housing.
“Are we brave enough to imagine beyond the boundaries of ‘the real’ and then do the hard work of sculpting reality from our dreams?” This question is posed by the creators of Octavia’s Brood, a published anthology and working group of visionary leaders who help communities create pathways to social justice through the powerful tool of science fiction. We will bring Gabriel Teodros of Octavia’s Brood and Liz Ogbu of ‘Studio O’ to Santa Fe to help “uncover the truths buried in the fantastical – and to inject a healthy dose of the fantastical into our search for truth.”
Gabriel Teodros is a musician and writer from South Seattle. In 2015, Teodros made his speculative fiction debut with a story published in Octavia’s Brood: Science Fiction Stories from Social Justice Movements, and in 2016 he graduated from the Clarion West Writers Workshop for Speculative Fiction. His writing has also been published by The Feminist Wire, Okayafrica, and the forthcoming anthology Sunspot Jungle: The Ever Expanding Universe of Fantasy and Science Fiction.
Liz Ogbu is designer, urbanist, and social innovator. Liz is an expert on social and spatial innovation in challenged urban environments globally. From designing shelters for immigrant day laborers in the U.S. to a water and health social enterprise for low-income Kenyans, Liz has a long history of working with communities in need to leverage the power of design to catalyze sustained social impact. Her work blends human-centered design research methodologies, architecture and equitable development principles, cross-disciplinary design thinking frameworks, and social.
Bridging the present and the future, local guest speakers Zane Fischer, Alicia Inez Guzmán, Joseph Kunkel, Santa Fe City Councilor Renee Villarreal, and Beata Tsosie-Peña will examine current opportunities and challenges, and highlight initiatives led by local advocates and community organizations to address our housing crisis.
Brief Update on the Road Trip
Baltimore. 6.26. Open Works: While in Baltimore, Roxanne and I met with Alex D’Agostino, the Membership Coordinator for Open Works. He gave us a tour and spoke with enthusiasm about how Open Works provides this unique space for people who make things. The program not only works with its growing membership, but it also provides programming for neighborhood schools and youth programs, and targets diverse age, ethnic and gender identities. Clearly it is a very welcoming space. Open Works provides space and equipment so people with ideas and skills, but lacking tools and equipment, can get a start by using an array of tools and equipment worth over a million dollars. If their ideas expand and they need to lease space in which to grow their idea or business, they lease out space to folks, serving as a kind of incubator. And the space they lease is in the midst of a bustling hub of creative types, further germinating and supporting the creative flow. It is a wondrous space. Roxanne informed me that there is a developing ‘makerspace’ in Santa Fe and so we will definitely work to link these programs.
Open Works offers members
- Desktop tools for prototyping, sewing, and electronics.
- Heavy-duty manufacturing workshops for bigger projects.
Monthly membership plans offer access to shared workspace for up to 76 hours a week, and start at just $70/month! They also provide makerspace for individuals or groups who have created a maker concept and need space in which to grow it, a kind of incubator for people who make stuff. Open Works provides access to one of the largest maker-focused work spaces in Baltimore. Flexible and affordable work spaces were designed with makers in mind, and put makers at the center of a bustling creative community with no long-term commitment. When someone becomes a Resident Member at Open Works, they get access to state-of-the-art equipment and facilities, and wind up accelerating their business and creative ideas from their access to these facilities and equipment and by being in community with other creative folks. To find out more about Open Works, click here.
Philadelphia. 6.27. Paul Glover. I spent about two hours in conversation with Paul Glover and felt like I was in the presence of a modern day Buckminster Fuller, a man who has developed 18 organizations, written six books and is now running for Governor of Pennsylvania on the Green Party ticket. I don’t have time to lay out in any kind of detail all the things this man has done, but he walked across the United States to commune with nature and the people who live throughout rural America. He has developed a robust urban eco-village concept, a 61 site network of urban orchards, a local currency system (in Ithica, NY) and is now developing the concept of citywide composting toilets to replace the city’s failing sewage infrastructure that spews sewage into the Delaware River whenever heavy rains fall and the sewers overflow. He is a true visionary and I will be interviewing him for my radio show soon. Much of what he has designed has been implemented successfully and, frankly, much of his vision is somewhat beyond what our government’s profit driven imagination can grasp. But it was inspiring to see someone who despite the state of the world, has so much vision and enthusiasm for seeking to achieve that vision. More on Paul Glover another time.
Progressive Victories Send Clear Message-Progressive Messages Resonate
New York Shocker: In the biggest progressive victory among many in yesterday’s primaries, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. a 28-Year Old Puerto Rican, Democratic Socialist trounced Joe Crowley, a longtime Democratic House Leader with strong ties to Wall St. and who was widely considered Pelosi’s likely successor as Speaker of the House. An avowed socialist who unabashedly advocated for federal housing and employment guarantees, Medicare for All, abolition of ICE, and complete restoration of Puerto Rican infrastructure, Ocasiio-Cortez defeated Crowley soundly, receiving 57% of the vote to 42% for Crowley.
More from New York: Grassroots Activist Defeats Another Mainstream Dem. Former House Rep and current Suffolk County official DuWayne Gregory touted his legislative experience while his competitor, consultant Liuba Shirley, emphasized her grassroots activism. Shirley made headlines in May when she gained FEC approval to use campaign funds for child care. She’s posted an impressive fundraising haul and gained the endorsements of Emily’s List, which helps elect Democratic women candidates who support abortion rights, and Bernie Sanders-aligned group Our Revolution.Chalk up another win for female progressives as Shirley soundly defeated Gregory garnering 58% of the vote to 41% for Gregory.
Maryland: Our Revolution Candidate Ben Jealous Defeats Dem. Centrist in Gubernatorial Primary. Former NAACP president Ben Jealous and Prince George’s County official Rushern Baker were the two front runners with Jealous supported by Our Revolution and strongly affiliated with Bernie Sanders and Baker being more aligned with the center of the Democratic Party. The anticipated close election did not materialize as in a nine candidate race, Jealous garnered 39% of the vote to only 29% for Baker. While it is great that Jealous has advanced, he faces Gov. Gary Hogan, a very popular GOP incumbent in November.
Oklahoma. Medical Marijuana Passes Overwhelmingly Despite Strong Opposition from Outgoing GOP Governor. Oklahomans for Health, a nonprofit that pushed for this ballot measure, argues that it gives patients, including those who suffer from chronic pain, more choice about their medical care. Additionally, advocates for the policy suggest that the legalization of medical marijuana will enable the state to develop more concrete regulations around its use.
Critics of the measure including Americans for Equal Liberty claim it does not put enough limitations on the kinds of qualifying conditions individuals need to have to obtain medical marijuana licenses. Oklahoma Sen. James Lankford (R), an ordained pastor, has been among the religious leaders who have been very outspoken on the subject and questioned the measure’s morality, slamming it as a “recreational marijuana vote disguised as medical marijuana.”
Certainly, some centrist Democrats won important races, but progressives can take heart that the shift to the left is continuing and it continues to be fueled by voter enthusiasm for progressive ideas and policies and candidates who are increasingly women and people of color.
Family Separation Update
Judge Orders Family Reunification within 30 Days. According to an LA Times report: “A federal judge in San Diego issued a preliminary injunction Tuesday at the request of the American Civil Liberties Union that calls for all children affected by the Trump administration’s “zero-tolerance” immigration policy to be reunited with their parents within 30 days”
In a strongly worded opinion, U.S. District Judge Dana Sabraw wrote “the facts set forth before the court portray reactive governance — responses to address a chaotic circumstance of the government’s own making. They belie measured and ordered governance, which is central to the concept of due process enshrined in our Constitution.” It is all well and good that a Federal judge has issued this order, but given that virtually no efforts were made to plan for reunification and reports that some children and Trump rhetoric about his desire to dispense with due process altogether, I suspect there will be more hurdles ahead.
Actions Across New Mexico
Spanish-speakers Experienced with Mayan Dialect Needed in Las Cruces
According to a Santa Fe New Mexican report: “English and Spanish in whispers and bellows echo through the towering federal courthouse in Las Cruces where judges churn through dockets of immigration cases day after day. Increasingly, though, you can also hear Kanjobal, a Mayan dialect most common in Guatemala. Lawyers and federal officials in courts along the border say they have seen a growing number of defendants in recent years who speak indigenous languages from Guatemala and beyond. At the federal court in Las Cruces, judges have carved out a separate docket in order to line up interpreters for just these cases.”
“The demand for indigenous language interpreters has increased dramatically just in the last year,” says Barbara Mandel, head of the Office of the Federal Defender in Las Cruces. In the absence of good interpreter services, advocates report that many immigrants will agree to terms that they do not understand or be misunderstood in what they convey, either of which can lead to very negative consequences.
I am trying to identify a contact person interested in volunteering, so if you know of anyone with you know of anyone who speaks a Mayan dialect, please contact me for now. Please contact me and I will connect you.
Paul & Roxanne